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East Asia Region Facing Arms Race Threat in Wake of INF Treaty Collapse, Putin Warns

© Sputnik / Evgeny Paulin / Go to the mediabankRussian President V. Putin took part in the XVI East Asian Summit
Russian President V. Putin took part in the XVI East Asian Summit - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.10.2021
Washington stopped fulfilling its obligations under the INF Treaty in August 2019 after accusing Moscow of violating its provisions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the East Asia region faces the threat of an arms race following the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
"With the termination of the INF Treaty, the [Asia-Pacific] region faces the possibility of the strike weapons mentioned in the treaty appearing on the region's vast territory, and, accordingly, the prospect of a new arms race", Putin told a virtual meeting of the 16th East Asia Summit on Wednesday.
He recalled that Russia, realising the full-blown danger of such a development, declared a unilateral moratorium on the deployment of intermediate- and short-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific and other regions of the world. According to Putin, Moscow called for a serious discussion on the issue with all interested states.
"This Russian proposal remains in force, and its relevance is even growing", he pointed out.
The Russian president added that Moscow had repeatedly stood up for the formation of a system of equal and indivisible security in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthening the atmosphere of constructive cooperation on the principles of international law, including respect for sovereignty, equality, and consideration of each other's interests.
"This is the only way, in our opinion, to stop existing and emerging threats, resolve problems that are urgent not only for our region, but also for the world community as a whole, as well as effectively interact in the interests of sustainable development and improvement of the population's well-being", Putin underlined.
He also underscored the importance of bolstering joint efforts to boost regional security amid growing threats.
"It is important not to weaken joint efforts to maintain regional stability and security. This is all the more topical given that the number of challenges and threats in the Asia-Pacific region is not decreasing, but growing, with old conflict situations becoming exacerbated and new ones emerging", the Russian president stressed.

INF Treaty Debacle

In August 2019, Washington stopped implementing its commitments to the INF Treaty as the White House accused Moscow of violating the document's provisions.
Despite Russia itself having concerns about US adherence to the deal and Moscow making several attempts to prove its compliance, Washington insisted on withdrawing from the accord.
This video grab taken from a DoD (US Department of Defense) handout video released on December 12, 2019, shows a ballistic missile being launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.12.2019
US Plans to Test Two New Missiles Banned By INF Treaty By Year-End - Russian Military
Just months after ditching the INF, Washington conducted the first tests of its new non-INF-compliant missile, prompting Russia to assume that the withdrawal was pre-arranged to free the US from arms control obligations and legalise the missile, which had long been in development.
The Kremlin called the White House's INF non-compliance-related accusations against Russia fictitious and a pretext for abandoning the deal.
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